I’m guessing that if you’re not from Delaware and you’re not a history buff you don’t know who John Dickinson was. If I learned his name in my high school and college American history classes, I’d long since forgotten it. But for years, every time I drove to Dover and passed the sign pointing to his home, I’d been curious about him.
The Prickly Pear Trail at the Fresh Pond State Park is one of Brandi’s favorite places to run. She loves the surface – a combination of packed dirt, grass, pine needles, and crushed gravel. She loves the distance – about 3.5 miles. But the biggest reason she loves it is the “Brandi-time” she gets about two miles into the trail.
The Breakwater-Junction Trail is a rare 17 mile loop route connecting Rehoboth and Lewes, Delaware. (Rare because most bike trails are out and back.) But the fact that it is a loop is not its only attractive feature.
Only an hour from the beach still buzzing with post-Labor Day vacationers, the boat ramp at the end of George Island Landing Road seemed eerily vacant. The ample asphalt parking area surrounded by rip-rap hovered barely a foot above the calm surface of the bay. If too many vehicles were to park on one side, it looked like the whole thing would tip into the water. To the north of the area, one empty, newish-looking house perched on its spindly pilings over the bay. To the south, an abandoned commercial fishing operation sat rusting on its bulkhead. The word that immediately came to mind as I surveyed the scene was “lonesome.” Perfect.
“How much you wanna bet we see a snake today?” Mitch said as we settled onto our bikes, bumping over the rocky dirt trail. (Mitch turns everything into a competition.) Even though it had sprinkled earlier, the sun felt intense as it broke through the clouds. The first warm day of a long, nasty winter – Mitch knew it was perfect snake conditions. But to me, the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge seemed pretty big, and it borders the even bigger False Cape State Park. Why would the snakes be on the trail when they had plenty of other opportunities to sun bathe unharassed? I took the bet.
Although there’s not much to Bluff—a few dusty streets fit between incongruously orange bluffs and a snaking river, a handful of old Victorian homes, and a cemetery with a beautiful view—we’d like to go back. We had an appointment in Flagstaff so we had to pass through without thoroughly exploring the area. (I think you’d need a lifetime to really explore this corner of the earth!) Through the years, Bluff yo-yoed between multiple booms and busts (agrarian, livestock, coal, gold, oil, uranium) so it has an expectant feel to it as if biding time for the next big thing.
The sun is setting. “How long are we on this road?” Mitch asks, not hiding the irritation in his voice. We’re inching along, everything down to our fillings rattling as we swerve back and forth, trying to find the path of least wash-boards.
“Well,” I say. Do I tell him the truth?
Because of a girl’s weekend in Michigan with my college besties, I only stayed at Cave Creek Regional Park for one day. Therefore, Mitch should write this post. But he prefers photography. So this short interview is all I got:
“If you post another photo like that, I’ll never talk to you again.” (That is the G-rated version of our Delaware friend’s comment.) Sometimes, people suffering through a miserable east coast winter don’t want to know what we see out our RV kitchen window. But the incredible view from our campsite at Lost Dutchman State Park begged to be shared.